Manufacturer fined $150K for fatal shock

'The worker was taken to hospital in critical condition, but ultimately succumbed to the injuries'

Manufacturer fined $150K for fatal shock
With the victim fine surcharge, the total fine is equal to $187,500.

Miska Trailer Factory, based in Hamilton, Ont., was fined on Dec 11, 2020, following a guilty plea in Ontario Court of Justice in Hamilton.

The manufacturer was facing charges relating to an incident in which a worker was fatally injured when they were electrocuted after coming into contact with live powerlines. The incident occurred on March 21, 2019.

The worker had been tasked with modifying new flags attached to aluminum poles, and then mounting said poles atop stationary flagpoles which were located along a fence in the factory’s parking lot.

To complete the task, the worker drove a forklift with a scissor lift on its forks to the work area. The worker then got on the scissor lift, with an aforementioned aluminum pole and raised the lift to reach the top of the flagpole. The pole contacted the 16,000 volt live overhead powerlines above, electrocuting the worker. The worker was taken to hospital in critical condition, but ultimately succumbed to the injuries.

Following the incident, an investigation was launched by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. It found that the manufacturer “did not take steps to prevent encroachment by the existing flagpole and new flag installation upon the 3-metre (10-foot) minimum distance set from live powerlines”.

The court found that “Miska committed the offence of failing, as an employer, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.” This is contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Miska was fined $150K, and the court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, required by the Provincial Offences Act. This surcharge will be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

This surcharge is equal to $37,500, bringing the total fine up to $187,500.